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Apple unveils 9.7″ iPad Pro

Apple has unveiled a new 9.7-inch iPad Pro. It features a pro Retina display with greater brightness, wider colour gamut, lower reflectivity, Night Shift mode and the new True Tone display technology to adjust white balance. 

The new iPad Pro is powered by a 64-bit A9X chip, along with a four-speaker audio system, new 12-megapixel iSight camera for shooting Live Photos and 4K video, 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera, and faster wireless technologies. It includes support for the breakthrough Apple Pencil and a new Smart Keyboard cover.

“iPad Pro is a new generation of iPad that is indispensable and immersive, enabling people to be more productive and more creative. It’s incredibly fast, extremely portable, and completely natural to use with your fingers, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. And now it comes in two sizes,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

Apple provided the following information:

Designers, illustrators and businesses have quickly adopted iPad Pro and it’s changing the way they work:

“People don’t realise how much hand drawing is needed to produce computer animation,” said John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. “iPad Pro and Apple Pencil are the closest we’ve ever been able to get in the digital world to actually drawing on paper.”

“I’ve done everything including designing the latest cycling collection on iPad Pro,” said Alex Valdman, Head of Design for Rapha. “It goes with me everywhere, and has not only replaced my laptop, but my paper notebook as well. For the Rapha design team, iPad Pro will become standard issue.”

“At Citi, iPad Pro is truly transforming how we work,” said Stephen Gates, U.S. Head of Design for Citi Global Consumer Banking. “iPad Pro and Apple Pencil have played a huge part in the new Citi Design team’s work to create new innovative customer experiences. We use iPad Pro for sketching out new design concepts, presenting our work, answering our emails, working with our design files on Adobe Creative Cloud and participating in FaceTime meetings with our other design teams all over the world.”

Pro display

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro features advanced display technologies, including a True Tone display, which uses new four-channel sensors to dynamically adjust the white balance of the display to match the light around you for a more natural and accurate, paper-white viewing experience. The advanced Retina display is 25 percent brighter and 40 percent less reflective than iPad Air 2, making content even easier to see indoors and out. It uses the same wider colour gamut as the iMac with Retina 5K display, delivering 25 percent greater colour saturation¹ for more vivid colours. A custom timing controller, photo alignment and oxide TFT deliver incredible colour, contrast and clarity. Night Shift in iOS 9.3 uses iPad Pro’s clock and geolocation to automatically adjust the colours in the display to the warmer end of the spectrum after dark and may even help you get a better night’s sleep.

Pro performance

The new iPad Pro is just 6.1mm thin and weighs just under one pound, yet delivers groundbreaking performance, connectivity and versatility so you can tackle the most demanding tasks wherever you go. The powerful A9X chip with third-generation 64-bit architecture provides performance that rivals many laptops and console-class graphics, while also delivering all-day battery life. Ultrafast wireless connectivity keeps you connected wherever you go with 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO technology, support for even faster LTE Advanced with up to 50 percent faster cellular connectivity and the most LTE bands supported by any tablet. Now with Apple SIM embedded directly in the new iPad Pro, it’s even easier to connect to wireless data plans right from your device when traveling in more than 100 countries and territories.

iPad Pro has an advanced 12-megapixel iSight camera sensor featuring Focus Pixels for fast focusing, an Apple-designed image signal processor, advanced noise reduction, third-generation local tone mapping and better face detection, all resulting in sharp, detailed images, 63-megapixel panoramas and Live Photos. A True Tone flash improves low light shots and document scanning. The new iSight camera shoots 4K video, making the new iPad Pro the perfect device to shoot, edit and share pro-quality video. The improved 5-megapixel, front-facing FaceTime HD camera makes the new iPad Pro perfect for videoconferencing or connecting with loved ones.

Pro audio

The four-speaker audio system provides powerful, clear and rich stereo sound for more than twice the audio output.¹ Built-in sensors automatically adjust and optimise the audio no matter which way you’re using it. iOS 9.3 also adds support for playing video encoded with Dolby Digital Plus audio streams with support for multichannel output using the Apple Lightning Digital AV Adapter.

Pro accessories

Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, available for purchase separately, bring breakthrough levels of precision and utility to iPad Pro. Advanced sensors in Apple Pencil measure both pressure and tilt for a natural drawing, annotating and note-taking experience. A new Smart Keyboard is custom-designed for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, offering a thin yet durable keyboard that never needs to be charged or paired over Bluetooth and is easily foldable into a protective Smart Cover. The new Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader and Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter make it easy to download photos and videos from a digital camera to iPad Pro, while a new Lightning to USB-C Cable and Apple’s 29W USB-C Power Adapter enable faster charging.

Pricing & Availability

– The 9.7-inch iPad Pro comes in silver, space grey, gold and a new rose gold metallic finish, and is available in both a WiFi and WiFi + Celluar model. Both iPad Pro sizes are available in offerings of 32GB, 128GB and a new 256GB capacity, the highest of any iOS device. For more information, please visit www.apple.com/ipad.

– The 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be available to order beginning Thursday, March 24, from Apple.com, and in Apple’s retail stores, through select carriers and Apple Authorised Resellers on Thursday, March 31, in Australia, Canada, China (Wi-Fi models only), France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the UK, US Virgin Islands and the US.

–The 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be available in early April in Albania, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Greenland, Guam, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Macau (Wi-Fi models only), Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand (Wi-Fi models only), Turkey and UAE.

– Accessories for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro include Apple Pencil, Smart Keyboard in charcoal grey and Polyurethane iPad Pro Smart Cover and Silicone Cases, available in a range of new vibrant colours.

– A Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader, Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter, Apple 29W USB-C Power Adapter, Lightning to USB-C Cable (1 m.) and Lightning to USB-C Cable (2 m.) are also available.

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Cybercrooks eye smart buildings

In countries like the United States, the growth of smart buildings is estimated to reach 16.6% by 2020 compared to 2014, although this expansion is not limited to the US but rather is taking place on a global scale.  This growth is largely due to the fact we live in a world increasingly permeated by technology, in which process automation and the search for energy efficiency contribute not only to sustainability, but also to cost reduction – a goal pursued in all industries, public and private alike. Naturally, the construction industry is no exception, says Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO at ESET South Africa.

Smart buildings use technology to control a wide range of variables within their respective environments with the aim of providing more comfort and contributing to the health and productivity of the people inside them. To do so, they use so-called Building Automation Systems (BAS).  With the arrival of the Internet of Things (IoT), smart buildings have redefined themselves. With the information they obtain from smart sensors, their technological equipment is used to analyse, predict, diagnose and maintain the various environments within them, as well as to automate processes and monitor numerous operational variables in real time. Ambient temperature, lighting, security cameras, elevators, parking and water management are just some of the automatable services currently supported by the technology.

To put the possibilities of this smart infrastructure into perspective, is the example of a smart building in Las Vegas where, two years ago, they decided to install a sophisticated automation system to control the use of the air conditioning (keeping in mind Las Vegas has a hot desert climate and very little rain), so it is turned on only when there are people present. This decision led to a saving of US$2 million during the first year after the smart system was installed, due to the reduction in energy consumption achieved by automating the process. Marriott Hotels implemented a similar system across the entire chain that is expected to generate an estimated US$9.9 million in energy savings.

Another example of automation through smart devices is that of a supermarket in the United Kingdom. The store installed a smart system in its parking lot that generates a kinetic energy from the movement of cars passing through it, and then uses that energy to power the checkouts.

At first glance, we may not see any security risk in these smart buildings.  It is likely, however, that at some point the entire smart network is connected to a single database, and that is where the risk is. Particularly if we consider that many IoT devices are manufactured by different suppliers, who may not have paid due attention to security considerations during their design and manufacturing process.

Possibility of a smart building being attacked

The risk of a security incident taking place in an intelligent building is linked to the motivations of cybercriminals, who mainly seek to achieve economic gain through their actions, as well as to impact and spread fear.

There are already some tools such as Shodan that allow anybody to discover vulnerable and/or unsecured IoT devices connected publicly to the internet. If you run a search using the tool, you can find thousands of building automation systems in its lists, complete with information that could be used by an attacker to compromise a device. In February 2019, around 35,000 building automation systems worldwide appeared in Shodan within public reach via the internet.

This means that someone could take control of a BAS after finding it through a search.  If, for example, a criminal used Shodan for building automation systems to attack, they will find IP addresses. If they copy those IP addresses into the address bar of a web browser, in many cases this will bring up an interface for gaining access, where they need to enter a username and password. If the password is a default password of if it can be cracked easily through a brute force attack, the attacker will gain access to the system monitoring panel, which contains information similar to the companies located in the smart building.

Once the attackers have access to this public information and can monitor, for example, how the air conditioning works, they could make a phone call pretending to be from the maintenance company and say they are going to send a technician. At the same time, the attackers could request remote access, which would give them access to the server and allow them to control the building. Once they have control, they could alter the building’s heating or air conditioning or adjust the way any of the other automated systems operate and then demand payment of a ransom in using a system that allow them to remain anonymous, such as cryptocurrency, in exchange for not shutting the building down.

Siegeware: a very real threat

Cybercriminals are already carrying out such attacks when they have the opportunity. This kind of attack is siegeware, or “the code-enabled ability to make a credible extortion demand based on digitally impaired building functionality”

In conclusion, the low cost of IoT devices for buildings and the advances of technology for building automation systems is leading to changes with an impact on security. This drive toward automation and the use of smart devices to gather data – in order to give a building’s users more comfort and to make more efficient use of resources such as energy – is also leading to increased security risks. As a result, the possibility of a cybercriminal launching a ransomware attack on asmart building is already a reality.

Considerations to keep in mind

There are a number of security considerations and requirements to keep in mind:

  • Review the devices’ security specifications and work on the basis of the ‘security by design’ concept
  • Set a suitable budget for security
  • Choose partners that have knowledge of security issues
  • Install software for managing vulnerabilities
  • Ensure cooperation between the different areas and/or departments

For operational issues:

  • Update the devices regularly
  • Implement a replacement plan for when devices’ support life cycles end
  • Exercise a precaution in respect of connected devices
  • Monitor connected devices

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How we can break out of the productivity/technology trap

The tyre industry is a microcosm of the dilemma in which South African manufacturers find themselves, writes JACQUES RIKHOTSO, MD at Bridgestone

Many of South Africa’s industries have been built on the back of abundant cheap labour. Mining is the obvious example, but the manufacturing sector has also been shaped by thefact of cheap labour. For many years, cheap labour was arguably a huge advantage, enabling us to become a world-leading mining country and also to create significant agricultural and manufacturing capabilities. But, in the end, it has had the unintended consequence stifling investment in equipment and masking a skills deficit that will be very hard to overcome.

To understand the dynamics, it’s as well to begin by reminding ourselves that productivity is, at the crudest level, the relationship between output and input. Humans are still the most important input contributors, and so labour costs are a significant factor in the productivityequation.

In South Africa and other developing economies, labour costs are low whereas in thedeveloped world, they are high. South African manufacturers (and miners and farmers) have thus typically used more people to produce the same amount of units than a European or American manufacturer would do, while still managing to compete on price and often on quality. However, the much more expensive labour costs in the developed world, while causing short-term pain, have always meant that the business case for investing in the latest technology to make those expensive humans even more productive has always been strong.

By contrast, the business case for investing in up-to-date equipment has been weak in South Africa. If more output was required, more people was typically a cheaper answer than better equipment. We have therefore remained a fairly labour-intensive market, which is good given our unemployment issues, but raises two specific and daunting challenges:

We need to make major investments in equipment. In my industry, I would venture to say we are 15-20 years behind developed countries when it comes to the deployment ofequipment. This was not too much of a problem for a long while because the old equipment was still cost-effective and could turn out the products needed at the right quality and price. However, tyre technology has now moved on to such an extent that the old machines simply are not capable of producing the new generation of products. Radiallised Agricultural/Underground Mining Sector Tyres and light weighted tyres for electric cars, for example, represent significant advances in tyre design. Current machinery cannot be adapted to produce either them; a substantial investment in new equipment will be necessary.

Another factor is that the industry dynamics have changed over the past few years. Theadvent of cheap, mass-produced tyres from the Far East means that in many instances, fleet owners are not retreading existing tyres but rather purchasing these cheap ones new. To compete, local tyre manufacturers need to move upwards on the Technology Cost Curve by investing in technology is less electricity-intensive, deploys minimum labour and requires maintenance in order to compete with high-volume producers.

The other consequence of competing with lower cost producers is the need to write down older retreading capacity and invest in more modern equipment.

Because our investment in equipment has been so low for so long, we are not talking about incremental investment but something much more significant in many areas at once.

This massive new wave of investment will not be restricted to manufacturing equipment. High-tech data-driven modern equipment associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution will also require factory layouts to be revamped in order to accommodate new IT infrastructure and robotic capacity, as is already being used in the developed world.

This is essential if we are able to compete in the longer term.

We need to make major investments in skills, both at the corporate and national levels. Investments in new technology will create a need for a new generation of skilled operators. The new machines require totally different skills—hard-won dexterity with gears and levers is making way for skills on touchscreens, the ability to type and, crucially, to read and action screen-based instructions quickly. Sadly, many of the cadre of experienced operators will not be able to reskill and companies will need to give serious thought to their future.

However, in Bridgestone’s experience, the younger generation of operators often has thepotential for reskilling on modern machines, and we are already busy with that process.

Being part of a global group is a massive advantage, because our regions are all at different stages of industrial development, and some have undertaken a similar journey into the modern era. Our Japanese factories, in particular are industry leaders in tyre manufacture. We can therefore rely on previous experience and, most important of all, cansend key employees to acquire the necessary training and experience at one of our sister facilities. Such a person can then be used as a champion within the company, to train colleagues and promote new ways of working. In our experience, such an approach does work, but it takes time and effort.

South Africa’s status as a manufacturing country has been in the balance for some years thanks to our lack of investment in new technology, but there is no doubt that a strong manufacturing sector is critical in rebuilding in the economy. To re-ignite our manufacturing, we have to escape the technology/ production trap.

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